In a rural backwater in Wisconsin lies the rambling estate of Taliesin. Here, tempestuous affairs rage behind closed doors, broken hearts are tossed aside and fires have ripped through the wings of the house. Paparazzi lie in wait outside the front door, hounding for the latest scandal, the latest tragedy in this never-ending drama. For this ...
In a rural backwater in Wisconsin lies the rambling estate of Taliesin. Here, tempestuous affairs rage behind closed doors, broken hearts are tossed aside and fires have ripped through the wings of the house. Paparazzi lie in wait outside the front door, hounding for the latest scandal, the latest tragedy in this never-ending drama. For this is the home of the great architect of the twentieth century, Frank Lloyd Wright, a man of extremes in both his work and his private life: at once a force of nature - arrogant and infuriating - and an avalanche of need and emotion that sweeps aside everything in its path. This is the story of the wives and mistresses who fall under Frank's spell. There is the delusional Kitty, his first wife, convinced that his affair with the defiant Mamah can't possibly last. There is Miriam, his crazed, demented second wife, hell-bent on wreaking revenge most public and most vicious after the bitter demise of their marriage. And there is Oglivanna, the Serbian immigrant, who waits with Frank in constant terror for the next wave of desolation from Miriam as she stalks them at every turn, unleashing a torrent of sheriffs, immigration officials, bankers, lawyers and journalists. Sharp, savage and subtle in equal measure, The Women plumbs the chaos, horrors and uncontainable passions of a fascinating American icon.
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This book is an interesting account of the life of Frank Lloyd Wright and the women he loved. Having read "Loving Frank", I knew about his relationship with his wife and Mamah, the woman who gave up her husband and children to be with him.. This book takes you beyond them to the women who became his second and third wives. Boyle writes well, but be prepared to use a dictionary when you read...or try to figure out the meanings in context!
Wright was a brilliant, eccentric, egotistical man. I enjoyed reading more about him and the women who chose to live with him.
Jul 19, 2009
I was disappointed with this book after having read "Loving Frank" recently. I just couldn't become absorbed like I was with the story of Frank and his mistress, Mama.
Apr 2, 2009
Frank Lloyd Wright and his Women
Mr. Boyle presents a fascinating portrait of the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, that is by turns thrilling, appalling, inspirational and humorous. Throughout his life, Wright pursued, and was pursued by, glamorous and attractive women. Boyle tells the story of Wright as seen through the eyes of his women, as told by a Japanese apprentice architect who idolizes Wright, but is keenly aware of Wright's shortcomings, especially his financial immaturity (to put a kind gloss on it.) In an interesting twist, Boyle begins at the end, with Oglivianna, the last of his wives, and works backwards. We thus see a succession of relationships develop and dissolve, as Wright falls in love with newer, younger woman. One inwardly shudders as Wright deals with women who literally go over the top (Miriam!) in their efforts to salvage their relationships when Wright spies a new conquest. This story is told against the background of Wright's inspiring architecture, especially his design and construction of successive versions of Taliesen in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and the puritanical and hypocritical American society of time, who saw Wright as a God-less menance to stable marriages.
This is the first time I've read a book by T.C. Boyle and I must say I am enormously impressed. He writes an enthralling story, filled with period detail that at times make it seem more an historically accurate biography than a novel. But what a novel it is! One is absolutely absorbed in Wright's story and the women who loved him. Highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-11-17 The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was both magnetic and cruel, as evidenced by the succession of failed marriages and hot-blooded affairs depicted in this biographic reimagining that drills into Wright mythology and the dark shadows of the American dream. The narrative moves backwards in time through the accounts of four women in Wright's life: Olgivanna, the steely, grounded dancer from Montenegro; Miriam, the drug-addled narcissist from the South; Kitty, the devoted first wife; and Mamah, the beloved and murdered soul mate and intellectual companion. But the novel's centerpiece is Taliesin, Wright's Oz-like Wisconsin home. The tragedies that befall Taliesin-fires, brutality-serve as proxy for Wright's inner turmoil; his deeper stirrings surface only occasionally from behind Boyle's oft-overbearing depiction of Wright's women. The most engaging person is Tadashi Sato, the Japanese-American apprentice and narrator who emerges via his frequent footnotes as a complex reflection of "Wrieto-san" and, with his inability to remain objective and his evolving view of Wright and Wright's image, becomes the book's most dynamic character. It's a lush, dense and hyperliterate book-in other words, vintage Boyle. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-03-30 Rising and falling in steady rhythm, soothing even when the story unsettles and surprises, Grover Gardner's voice is a fine instrument. He delivers a stellar rendition of Boyle's reimagining of Frank Lloyd Wright's tortured relationships with his wives and lovers-and his obsession with Taliesin, his home in Wisconsin, which suffered no less than the architect or his women. Gardner, a regular prize-winner who's done more than 650 audiobooks, is familiar to audio listeners, but he strikes new notes, hurdling over difficult names and nimbly skipping from character to character. Readers will be entirely immersed in the hothouse world of the architect and his women. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 17). (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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